There's one exercise pose that you can do anywhere, anytime. Whether it's at the gym, or in your bedroom, or if you feel like, right in the middle of your lecture theatre. You don't require any equipment, other than your own body weight. What is it?
Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they don't take up much time like swimming, require rallying friends like soccer, and yet still offer the chance to achieve results in a short span of time. Just starting with 20 seconds of plank a day would boost your immune system and help prevent injuries. So what happens when you start doing planks every day?
1. Planking improves your core strength
Abdominal muscles like the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominus, the external oblique muscle, and the glutes provide support for our entire back and spinal column. However, our core muscles have to be strong for them to play a vital role in supporting your spine and preventing injuries. This means training those muscles. When you start strengthening these muscle groups you will notice:
Transverse abdominis: Increased ability to lift heavier weights.
Rectus adbominis: Improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. (This is also the muscle group responsible for giving you that coveted six pack)
External oblique muscles: Improved ability to side-bend and twist from the waist
Glutes: Gives you a strong supported back and shapely butt
2. Planking decreases your risk of back and spine injury
According to the Korea's Inje University's Department of Physical Therapy, planking regularly not only greatly reduces back pain, but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back. Planking allows you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. This will also allow you to improve your overall posture and balance.
3. Planking gives an increased boost to your metabolism
Planking burns more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises like crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by regularly planking provide an enhanced metabolic rate, ensuring that you burn more energy and fat even when not exercising (yes, even while you are sleeping). This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of your computer studying.
3. Planking improves your overall mood
Doing planks will also have an effect on improving your overall mood. By stretching out those muscle groups we've mentioned above, they release stress and tension in the body.
Just think about it: if you are sitting in your chair in school all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These all put stress on your muscles and nerves, and planking for 20 seconds can release those tension.
This not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression.
How do I start planking regularly?
First, you must learn how to hold a proper plank position:
1. Get into pushup position on the floor. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
2. Keep your body in a straight line from head to toes with no sagging at the belly area. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
3. Breathe in and out slowly and steadily as you hold the position for as long as you can.
Try this 20 Days challenge to see improvements in your overall health:
Dаy 1: 20 seconds
Dаy 2: 20 seconds
Dаy 3: 30 seconds
Dаy 4: 30 seconds
Dаy 5 : 40 seconds
Dаy 6: Rest
Dаy 7: 45 seconds
Dаy 8: 45 seconds
Dаy 9: 60 seconds
Dаy 10: 60 seconds
Dаy 11: 60 seconds
Dаy 12: 90 seconds
Dаy 13: Rest
Dаy 14: 90 seconds
Dаy 15: 90 seconds
Dаy 16: 120 seconds
Dаy 17: 120 seconds
Dаy 18: 150 seconds
Dаy 19: Rest
Dаy 20: As long as you can